Another record and 16th win of the year for Max in Mexico: 'Incredible'
Published on 30 October 2023 by Misha van der Kroon
Max Verstappen won the Mexican Grand Prix convincingly. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver had a great start from P3, immediately taking the lead entering the first corner. After a red flag due to a heavy crash by Kevin Magnussen halfway through the race, Max again had a good restart when the lights went out at the standing restart. In the remainder of the race, victory was no longer in danger for the three-time World Champion, who took his sixteenth Grand Prix victory of the season, extending his own record from last year. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) finished the race thirteen seconds behind Max in P2, with Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in third place.
Loud cheers in the atmospheric Foro Sol welcomed Max after the race. He says: “It’s been incredible. Unfortunately Checo retired on lap one, but the crowd stayed and they have been amazing, incredible!”
With his sixteenth Grand Prix victory this year, Verstappen breaks another record. “To be honest, we’re experiencing an incredible season,” Max says proudly. “Again today, we had to start from P3. If the start is good, then of course you go for the lead. And the start was very good. And I think the pace of the car was also very good. We tried to do a different strategy than everyone else. It was a great strategy, but unfortunately with the red flag we couldn’t really show it. Nevertheless on those hard tyres at the end I think we were very strong.
Max expressed his frustrations about the red flag over the on-board radio: "Maybe the Tecpro barrier was too damaged and that was why the red flag came out, but a new start is always a risk and it takes so long."
With three races to go, what is the goal? “Seventeen wins, eighteen, I don't know,” Max concludes with a smile, before appearing on the podium wearing a sombrero and sitting on his winning RB19.
It is dry and sunny before the start of the 71 lap race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Alexander Albon and Esteban Ocon start on the hard tyre compound, while Lando Norris starts the race from seventeenth on the soft tyres. All other drivers start on the medium tyres, while Lance Stroll has to start from the pit lane for the second race in a row.
Max gets away excellently from the third place on the grid, while the start of the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz isn’t that good. When entering the first corner, Max takes the lead of the race on the inside of Leclerc. Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez also has a rocket start and the Mexican tries to pass Leclerc on the outside, in front of his home crowd.
Unfortunately, the two cars touch, and Perez flies meters through the air, three wheels in the air. Perez spins and has to take his badly damaged RB19 back to the pits. The team tries to fix the car, but there is too much damage and the Mexican has to retire from the race. Behind Verstappen, both Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz are in P2 and P3, while Ricciardo manages to maintain his position from P4 on the grid on the first lap.
Leclerc slightly damaged his front wing in the incident with Perez and because a piece of his front wing flew off, there briefly is a virtual safety car on lap five. On lap eleven, Lewis Hamilton manages to pass Ricciardo for fifth place, after the Australian showed some good defending moves. On lap 20 Max comes in for his first pit stop. In a 2.4 second pit stop, the team changes the medium tyres for hard ones. Verstappen returns to the asphalt in seventh place. Within two laps the Dutchman has closed the gap to Russell in front of him and he passes the Mercedes driver at the first corner. A lap later, Verstappen overtakes Piastri for P5 in the same spot. Hamilton pits, and Verstappen overtakes Ricciardo, meaning that the Dutchman is in third place on lap 25. Four laps later, Verstappen passes Sainz for second place, and because Leclerc comes in for his first stop on lap 32, Verstappen is back in the lead again.
Shortly after, Kevin Magnussen crashes in turn twelve. The left rear suspension of the Haas suddenly breaks and the Haas driver flies hard into the barrier. Magnussen is able to leave his badly damaged car unscathed, and the safety car comes onto the track. This gives Max the opportunity to make his second pit stop. He gets a fresh set of hard tyres on the RB19 and remains in the lead of the race. However, immediately afterwards the red flag is waved and the race is stopped, allowing all drivers to change their tyres.
After fifteen minutes, the race restarts for the remaining 35 laps. There is a standing start, with Max starting from P1 on the hard tyres, Leclerc behind him also on hards, and Hamilton on the medium compound. Verstappen has another great start and enters the first corner unthreatened. Behind him, Leclerc and Hamilton follow in P2 and P3. On his medium compound tyres, Hamilton quickly closes the gap to Lelcerc, increasing the pressure on the Monegasque. With a daring overtaking action, in which he partly goes over the grass, Hamilton manages to take second place from the Ferrari driver on lap 40.
Fernando Alonso has been driving in the back field for the entire race and on lap 48 the Spaniard has to park his Aston Martin in the pits with damage to his floor. A little later, Yuki Tsunoda and Oscar Piastri clash at the first corner in a battle for seventh position. The Japanese goes backwards and falls back to sixteenth place, while Piastri can continue his way without damage in P7. Meanwhile, Max has an eight-second lead over Hamilton, who is still in second place.
In the final phase of the race, Max continues to expand his lead. Unthreatened, the three-time World Champion takes his sixteenth Grand Prix victory of the year, tightening the record for most victories in a single season, which he set last year. With 51 victories in total, Max also equals Alain Prost in fourth place on the list with most Grand Prix Victories. Lewis Hamilton finishes thirteen seconds behind Verstappen in P2, while Charles Leclerc completes the podium. Carlos Sainz finished fourth, while Lando Norris rewarded his catch-up race with fifth place. George Russell finishes in P6, followed by Daniel Ricciardo in P7, the best result of the season for AlphaTauri. Oscar Piastri, Alexander Albon and Esteban Ocon complete the top ten.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||71||2:02:30.814||25|
|5||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||71||+33.266s||10|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||71||+41.570s||6|
|8||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||71||+43.104s||4|
|9||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||71||+48.573s||2|
|10||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||71||+62.879s||1|
|11||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||71||+66.208s||0|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||71||+78.982s||0|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||71||+80.309s||0|
|14||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||71||+81.676s||0|
|15||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||71||+85.597s||0|
|16||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||70||DNF||0|
|17||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||66||DNF||0|
|0||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||47||DNF||0|
|0||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||31||DNF||0|
|0||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1||DNF||0|